A Journey with Juan Ponce de Leon by Laura Hamilton WaxmanIn 1493 Juan Ponce de Leon joined Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World.
Thus began a lifetime of exploration for Ponce de Leon, who traveled to Puerto Rico in 1506, the island of Bimini in 1512, Florida in 1513. He died in Florida, fighting against the areas indigenous people.
How can we know what Ponce de Leons explorations were like, or what effect his actions had on the Native peoples he encountered?
By studying maps, journal excerpts, and other artifacts from Ponce de Leons time, we can learn about his impact on history.
Who is Juan Ponce de Leon?
He then returned to Hispaniola and was named governor of Puerto Rico but was soon displaced from the governorship through the political maneuvering of rivals. Tradition holds that he had learned from Indians of an island called Bimini in the Bahamas on which there was a miraculous spring or fountain that could rejuvenate those who drank from it the Fountain of Youth. He led a privately outfitted expedition from Puerto Rico in March and in April of that year landed on the coast of Florida at a site between modern Saint Augustine and Melbourne Beach. At the time he did not realize that he was on the mainland of North America and instead supposed he had landed on an island. He named the region Florida because it was discovered at Easter time Spanish: Pascua Florida and because it abounded in lush, florid vegetation. He then returned to Puerto Rico and thence to Spain , where he secured the title in of military governor of Bimini and Florida with permission to colonize those regions.
This was due to his expedition to the area now known as Florida the first one conducted by Europeans. Later, he served as a soldier, and took part in the Spanish campaigns against the Emirate of Granada. Thus, in , two years after he was granted the governorship of Puerto Rico, he was forced to surrender his position as the governor to Diego Columbus, the son of Christopher Columbus. Instead, it was court politics that resulted in this connection. It was during this expedition that the conquistador was mortally wounded in the thigh by an arrow, and died from his wound in Havana, Cuba, several months later.
His accidental discovery of Florida led to his settling the coast. On Easter Sunday, March 27, , a small fleet of three Spanish ships first sighted land off the Atlantic coast of the peninsula they would name Florida, in honor of the feast day Pasqua Florida on which it was discovered. Ponce's fleet of three ships had sailed from Puerto Rico just over three weeks earlier, passing northwest through the Bahamas on their way to the as-yet unexplored territory to the west. Though surprised by the unexpected land mass of the North American continent, over the course of the next two and a half months following first landfall, Ponce's fleet scoured the entire southern coast of Florida, rounding the Florida Keys and reaching the west coast in Calusa Indian territory before returning to Puerto Rico via Cuba. In addition to making several landfalls during which the Spanish skirmished with the native inhabitants of this new land, Ponce is also credited with discovering the currents of the Gulf Stream, which would ultimately shape Spanish maritime fortunes through the Florida Straits for centuries to come. In the aftermath of his accidental discovery of the "Island" of Florida, Ponce quickly moved to consolidate and reinforce his claim to the new land, obtaining the title of Adelantado of both Florida and Bimini, and a revised contract with the Spanish crown, in the fall of At the same time, however, the new Adelantado of Florida was also named captain of an armada commissioned to search out and destroy the Carib Indians in the lower Caribbean, a task which ultimately occupied the next six years, delaying his return to Florida.
He was a Spanish explorer who became the first governor of Puerto Rico, the first European known to reach the mainland of present day United States, and he gave Florida its name. Name : Juan Ponce de Leon [hwahn] [pons duh lee-ohn; Spanish pawn-se de le-ohn].
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Ponce de Leon
A decade later, he was serving as governor of the eastern province of Hispaniola when he decided to explore a nearby island, which became Puerto Rico. Thinking it was the island he sought, he sailed back to colonize the region in , but was fatally wounded in an Indian attack soon after his arrival. He later became a soldier, fighting in the Spanish campaign against the Moors in Granada. After that war ended, he may have gone along on the second voyage to the West Indies led by Christopher Columbus in He may have unofficially traveled there on his own before that. On the official expedition, he took 50 soldiers and a single ship and founded a settlement at Caparra, near what is now San Juan. The following month, the expedition landed on the coast of what is now Florida , near the site of modern-day St.
He gave Florida its name and went on to become the first governor of Puerto Rico. He served as a page at the court of Aragon, where he learned social skills, religion and military tactics. He eventually became a soldier and fought against the the Moors in Granada. His efforts paid off and he prospered well, selling produce and livestock to Spanish ships returning home. On a return trip to Spain around this time, he married a woman named Leonora, with whom he would eventually have three children. Some accounts speculate his ambitions may have led him to unofficially explore the area two years earlier.